AIM Autosport announces Rolex 24 at Daytona driver lineup
Woodbridge, Ontario - December 7, 2008: AIM Autosport announces the complete driver lineup in the No. 61 Ford Riley for the 2009 Rolex 24 at Daytona teaming regular drivers Mark Mark Wilkins and Burt Frisselle with Alex Figge and John Farano. Alex and John will be at the wheel of AIM's No. 51 Ford Riley the rest of the season. David Empringham, who anchored the 2007 AIM entry in their maiden Rolex 24, has signed on as a reserve. Originally planning to run two cars at Daytona with Farano and Figge taking the lead in AIM's new car, the No. 51 Ford Riley, the decision was made to combine resources and put the effort behind the No. 61 which will be running the entire season in search of a series championship in 2009. Farano recently put the 51 car through its paces during the October and November test days at Daytona using the time to become acquainted with Daytona Prototypes.
John Farano has spent the last few seasons competing in the Ferrari Challenge and has run select Grand Am Rolex races in a Mustang GT. He has previously competed in the Rolex 24. Alex Figge first raced in the Rolex Sports Car Series in 2005 running seven races in both GT and DP. He would run a full season of DP in 2006 before moving to Champ car in 2007. For 2008, Alex competed in a GT2 Ferrari in the ALMS.
"Following the 24, John and Alex have committed to a partial schedule in the No. 51 and may consider completing the season," commented AIM Autosport team principal Ian Willis, "but when we looked at the economics of running two cars for the Rolex 24, it was decided to run the four drivers we had and get a good start on the season for the No. 61." He continued, "While we had some very well-know and experienced drivers lined up to take the extra seats in both cars, the sponsorship necessary to field that sort of effort just did not exist for us at this time. It's a shame as we were hoping for a good show to launch the program with the 51 car. In the meantime though, we are confident that John and Alex will do a great job for us in January. Both tested extremely well. Alex has previously raced in Daytona Prototypes and John has come up to speed very quickly."
"We are pretty happy with the driver mix going into the next test days," commented Mark Wilkins. "Burt, David and myself already have a good comfort level with one another having done this race together before and after spending time with Alex and John, we are confident we can get the job done. Everyone is on the same page going into the January test and we know what the goal is for the team and the No. 61."
Burt Frisselle had this to add. "The Rolex 24 Hour is the ultimate team race, and I am thrilled to have John, Alex and Dave join Mark and me this January. This line up will no doubt give us the experience, consistency, and speed that it takes to win an event where one mishap can take you out of contention. I can't wait for the test days to arrive so we can all begin the process of working together to win the 2009 Rolex 24." The team and drivers head to Daytona International Speedway January 3-5 for final testing ahead of the Rolex 24 which takes place January 24-25.